Rapid, inexpensive solution needed to support transit in the North Shore, mayor says

A mayor on the North Shore says the region needs to replace the Ironworkers Bridge and add a SkyTrain to support commuters in the region, but another mayor says a fast and short-term solution is required first.

Mayor of North Vancouver, Mike Little says the bridge that first opened in the 50s will reach the end of its life sometime in the next 40 years, and says this provides an opportunity for an innovative solution to the region’s lack of rapid transit.

Little acknowledges that the bridge would take much work and funding.

“There’s no question that the kinds of capital dollars that will be needed will be regional in scope,” he said. “The benefit is regional in scope, it’s several people 140,000 daily trips over that bridge.”

On the other hand, Mayor Linda Buchanan says she would prefer to focus on projects that would come to fruition sooner rather than later, given the real need for rapid transit connecting the North Shore with the rest of the Lower Mainland.

She says plans are already in the works to get a bus rapid transit line to work faster, and inexpensively.

“I don’t think anyone on the North Shore is wanting, or the region is wanting to wait any longer for something that’s going to be much more costly and push our timeline back,” she said.

Buchanan says the transit speed is a real issue for many people in the region, and it causes great frustration for people, and that’s why the district has been studying it for the last six years.

She says routes from the North Shore to Metrotown have been prioritised.

“Part of that work will include both looking at light rail as well as SkyTrain that will be studied as part of the of the translink planning process,” she said.

She says a plan has just been secured.

“We agreed, that investment of $300 million from the provincial government allows us to move forward with the first number of items in the ten-year investment plan,” she said. Part of that is going to allow us to procure the buses for the bus rapid transit lines, as well as it allows us to get the buses to extend that R2 line sooner than later.”

In addition to securing the bus lines, Buchanan says they have to be on the table with the province in 2025 to look at how that can move forward and get a permanent plan in order and deliver the infrastructure needed to support the growth in the region.